MILWAUKEE — Though I’ve driven by it many times, I had no idea what was happening beyond the courtyard of Dryhootch Coffeehouse.
And exactly what is happening you may wonder? Well, hot mugs of hope and second chances.
This is what Founder Bob Curry had in mind when they started Dryhootch more than a decade ago.
“I had buried it all when I came back and thought I was alright until the Gulf War. That’s when it all came back," said Curry.
He wanted to create a place to help other vets going through what he knew so well. And the need was there: together with Executive Director Otis Winstead and a committed group of staff and volunteers, Dryhootch Coffeehouse is indeed a place for veterans to reconnect.
Peer support by veterans, for veterans, is what Winstead says is most important. Dryhootch has a diverse group providing peer support. It’s this and the trust that is inspired by shared experiences that creates a safe space for veterans to begin to talk about their trauma. And talking is the beginning of change.
I asked Winstead, “What are we (the general public) missing? What do you want us to know?"
Winstead responded: “It’s a great thing to say 'Thank you for your service.' That's like one of the greatest things that can happen. A greater thing would be to sit and listen to whatever might be going on."
I was touched by my time at Dryhootch, the people I met, the stories shared and the peace in knowing that there is real help for those who gave so much for us.
Dryhootch is located at 1030 E. Brady St. in Milwaukee. Drop in for a cup of hope.